Summer in Australia is traditionally a hedonistic time of parties, gatherings, barbeques and nights out on the town. And because it is Australia, alcohol features heavily on these occasions. But do you know what is happening in your brain when you drink alcohol and why it is a very good idea to listen to your barman when he suggests you’ve had enough?
We all know that alcohol makes us feel good – we feel more confident, amusing and adventurous but what makes us keep drinking after we’ve had two or three drinks and those good feelings have peaked?
Essentially what happens is that alcohol, once it has entered the bloodstream, is then absorbed into the brain. At this point, things start to go wrong. By inhibiting brain function, your rational thought processes are suppressed – hence the tendency for people to behave more extravagantly when they are drinking. You ability to process information at your normal rate diminishes with each drink you have – and is why it is illegal to drive after your blood-alcohol level is higher than 0.05.
Once your rational thought processes are suppressed, the part of you that makes sensible ‘life saving’ decisions – you tend not to listen to logic or voices of reason. Having another drink sounds like the best idea you’ve had in the last 10 minutes and so your brain is put further out of useful action.
The one person who can see everything clearly is your barman. A good barman will keep mental tabs on roughly how many drinks his patrons have had – and if he loses track, then your behaviour will give a good indication of whether or not you’ve had enough. While it may seem better for the venue and the licensee for everyone to drink up – under the terms of the Responsible Service of Alcohol it is important that they make sure patrons are monitored and those who have had enough are refused service.
Next time you are out and your barman suggests you’ve had enough, remember he’s your rational brain for the moment and he’s looking out for your safety, so pay attention and order a big glass of water – or even a classy mocktail!
[See related article: Beat the Booze Bus with the New Wave of Mocktails]
As part of the barman’s job he or she would have to participate in a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) training course. This teaches the basics of serving alcohol responsibly and what do look for in an intoxicated person.
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